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Balancing Fear: Why Counter-Terror Legislation was Blocked after the Oklahoma City and London Bombings
Unformatted Document Text:  vowed that the Senate would “expeditiously approve” new counterterrorism legislation 65 . On April 27, 1995, the Senate leaders of the majority Republican Party introduced an updated anti-terror bill to the judiciary committee. Amending the previously proposed counterterror bill, the new, proposed bill would add tags made of microscopic particles to raw materials that could be used for bomb making, allow the military to participate in domestic criminal cases, give the FBI more leeway in conducting electronic surveillance, and stiffen penalties for attacks on federal employees 66 . Though the American public was in a state of fear and Bill Clinton was pushing new legislation, Republican Senator Bob Dole, the majority leader in the Senate, counseled patience. Dole stated, on an ABC news program, his view that, “we better move slowly on the legislation we’re considering, make certain we get it right so we can sit here a year form now … and say we did the right thing … instead of getting caught up in emotion and going too far and maybe end up trampling on” an innocent person or group’s rights 67 . In response to the Republican Party’s sense of calm, Clinton unleashed a fiery speech on May 2 in which he stated that America’s open society was vulnerable “to the forces of organized evil,” while US Treasury officials asked Congress for increased funding and legal authority to combat what they described as a war on the federal government 68 . On May 31, 1995, Clinton declared that, “Congress has a right to review this legislation to make sure the civil liberties of American citizens are not infringed … but they should not go slow. Terrorists do not go slow, my fellow 65 Clayton Jr., William E. “Senate condemns ‘heinous’ attack,” The Houston Chronicle, 26 April 1995. 66 Freedland, Jonathan. “Oklahoma Suspect ‘Seen in Bomb Truck,’” The Guardian (London), 28 April 1995. 67 LaBaton, Stephen. “Data Show Federal Agents Seldom Employ Surveillance Authority against Terrorists,” The New York Times, 1 May 1995. 68 Holland, S. “Clinton Condemns Ultra-Right Groups,” Herald Sun, 3 May 1995. 28

Authors: Rubin, Gabriel.
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vowed that the Senate would “expeditiously approve” new counterterrorism legislation
.
On April 27, 1995, the Senate leaders of the majority Republican Party introduced an
updated anti-terror bill to the judiciary committee. Amending the previously proposed
counterterror bill, the new, proposed bill would add tags made of microscopic particles to
raw materials that could be used for bomb making, allow the military to participate in
domestic criminal cases, give the FBI more leeway in conducting electronic surveillance,
and stiffen penalties for attacks on federal employees
Though the American public was in a state of fear and Bill Clinton was pushing
new legislation, Republican Senator Bob Dole, the majority leader in the Senate,
counseled patience. Dole stated, on an ABC news program, his view that, “we better
move slowly on the legislation we’re considering, make certain we get it right so we can
sit here a year form now … and say we did the right thing … instead of getting caught up
in emotion and going too far and maybe end up trampling on” an innocent person or
group’s rights
. In response to the Republican Party’s sense of calm, Clinton unleashed
a fiery speech on May 2 in which he stated that America’s open society was vulnerable
“to the forces of organized evil,” while US Treasury officials asked Congress for
increased funding and legal authority to combat what they described as a war on the
federal government
. On May 31, 1995, Clinton declared that, “Congress has a right to
review this legislation to make sure the civil liberties of American citizens are not
infringed … but they should not go slow. Terrorists do not go slow, my fellow
65
Clayton Jr., William E. “Senate condemns ‘heinous’ attack,” The Houston Chronicle, 26 April 1995.
66
Freedland, Jonathan. “Oklahoma Suspect ‘Seen in Bomb Truck,’” The Guardian (London), 28 April
1995.
67
LaBaton, Stephen. “Data Show Federal Agents Seldom Employ Surveillance Authority against
Terrorists,” The New York Times, 1 May 1995.
68
Holland, S. “Clinton Condemns Ultra-Right Groups,” Herald Sun, 3 May 1995.
28


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